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Archive for Monday, July 25, 2005

Pressure builds for more video surveillance

July 25, 2005

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— Pressure is building for greater use of video cameras to keep watch over the nation's cities - particularly in transportation systems and other spots vulnerable to terrorism - after the bombings in London.

The calls have come over the last few weeks as British investigators released surveillance footage of the bombers in the deadly July 7 attacks and then put out frames of suspects in Thursday's failed attacks.

"I do not think that cameras are the big mortal threat to civil liberties that people are painting them to be," Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony A. Williams said Friday.

He's not alone. While privacy advocates question their effectiveness, Sen. Hillary Clinton called for New York City subway officials to install more cameras, even though officials said some 5,000 cameras are already in use across all modes of city travel.

In many other spots around the country, cameras already are in place.

"In general, I think we're getting used to cameras. Hey, that's just the way the world is," said Roy Bordes, who runs an Orlando, Fla.-based security design consultant firm.

Security experts say that technology hasn't yet caught up with hopes for the equipment, however.

They point out that despite London's huge network of cameras, the bombings weren't prevented. In those two cases, the cameras have only helped in the investigations.

One significant weakness is that the images caught by camera can't automatically link to a list of known terrorist suspects.

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